A Dollar Bill on the Wall

In a city close to its’ center resides a neighborhood. A major street runs through the middle of the neighborhood. On the north side of that street stand two buildings. The building on the right has two commercial spaces divided by a simple door. That door takes you up a flight of stairs. The stairs lead to several apartments on the second floor. The building’s far-left door opens to a hair and nail salon. On the far-right door hangs a “For Lease” sign.

You pull to open that door. A sparkling floor and freshly painted walls give a sanitary feel. On the left an empty counter. On the wall behind the counter hangs a lone wooden picture frame. In the frame, a dollar bill fading from age.

It speaks. “Hello, I see you have some interest in leasing this retail space. I would like to give you a brief history of this place?”

You stare in silence. Dollar bills are not to speak. Finally, you nod.

The dollar bill continues. “From your silence, I take you don’t know how to respond. That is okay. I will tell you why the previous owner left me here. I believe you will find it interesting.

Greg and Kathy Cavender opened this store just a little over ten years ago. They put their whole life savings into creating a neighborhood market that would supply the needs of the neighborhood.

Greg had built bins in the very back. He filled those bins with light switches, facet washers, along with nails and other hardware items. Kathy filled the center portion of the store with pots, pans, dishes, and all kinds of kitchen items. The front third of the store got filled with canned goods. Along the far wall set a cooler stocked with cheese, milk, and eggs. Beside the cooler, they placed a small freezer for ice cream. This counter displayed several types of candy for the children who came in with their parents. You never saw any alcoholic beverages or cigarettes in this store.

The Cavender’s regularly conversed about their son. One night, after having a couple of beers, he left a bar. While driving, he went to light a cigarette. The lighter fell in his lap. When he reached down for it, he ran over two elementary children crossing the street. The Cavender’s vowed the same thing would not happen to anyone else’s child. So, they refuse to serve alcohol or cigarettes.

I remember the Saturday morning Greg and Kathy opened Cavender’s Neighborhood Market. They placed an open sign in the window. A young single mother came in with her five-year-old son. She bought him a candy bar with me.

After the mother and her son left. Kathy promptly took me out of the register, put me in this frame, and hung me on this wall. She made sure I hung above their business license. Both of Cavender’s called me their good luck dollar bill.

Everyone in the neighborhood like the idea of shopping only a few blocks from where they lived. Otherwise, they would need to take the bus or drive forty-five minutes to one of those big box stores.

Over the following years, I saw the cash register get filled with my relatives. 5, 10, 20’s. Sometimes a distant relative ended up in the cash register. I am talking about a hundred-dollar bill.

The business prospered a lot better than they ever could have imagined. Six months after opening, they hired the single mother to help with stocking the shelves. Kathy let her son play on the floor next to his mother while she worked.

About five years ago, Greg hired a young man to help manage the store. Greg took Kathy on a much-needed vacation to Hawaii. While the Cavender’s were away, the young man took what he thought were several $100 bills. When the Cavender’s came back, they went to deposit the money in the bank.

Three days later, two men in business suits walked into the store. They were from the Treasury Department. Those $100 bills were not my relatives. They were fakes. The young man, nor Greg nor Kathy, could point to the specific individual who passed my fake relatives.

Over the following years, the Cavender’s got stricter about checking for fake relatives. They even bought a special pen to test the bills for being true relatives. Many of the regular customers felt they were being under suspicion for making fake relatives of mine.

In the last couple of years, the city grew. The city started to run express buses from the neighborhood to a mall that had several of those big box stores. A few blocks away a gas station started selling the same things as Cavender’s.

Greg and Kathy started seeing fewer and fewer of my relatives. About a year ago, Greg fell sick. At the same time, several customers got sick. Kathy had trouble keeping up with stocking the shelves and helping customers. People in the neighborhood stopped coming because they were afraid of getting sick from the Cavender’s. It got so bad Greg and Kathy had to close the business.

A month ago, Greg and Kathy Cavender put up a sign. It read they would close in one week: everything was half price. What didn’t sell, they donated to the church down the street.

Afterwards, they cleaned everything and painted the walls. The couple re-hung me up here. They did so I would bring good fortune to whoever takes over this storefront.

You look like a nice couple. This community sure could use a family-owned convenience store. The realtor’s number is on the sign taped to the front door. I hope to be seeing you folks again.”